After 23 years of inaction, Jokowi urged to resolve Wasior tragedy in Papua

Source – June 14, 2024
Human rights activists commemorate bloody Wasior tragedy – Undated (Kompas)

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) is urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to fully resolve the 2001 gross human rights (HAM) violations case in Wasior, Papua, which have been languishing for 23 years.

Kontras working division coordinator Dimas Bagus Arya said that National Human Rights Commission's (Komnas HAM) pro-judicial investigation dossier was handed over to the Attorney General's Office in 2003.

"However, yet again this process has stalled for the cliche reason, namely it [the investigation dossier] has not yet fulfilled the requirements or the requirements for an incident in order for it to be able to be taken to the criminal investigation stage as a gross human rights violations", said Arya on Thursday June 13.

Kontras is therefore urging President Widodo to order the Attorney General to form an ad hoc investigation team as a follow up to the investigation of the Wasior incident.

And not just Wasior, Kontras is also urging Widodo to resolve various other gross human rights violations that have been reported by Komnas HAM in accordance with the mandate of Article 21 Paragraph (3) of Law Number 26/2000 on Human Rights Courts.

"Secondly, urging the formation of a human rights court in Papua for the sake of the enforcement and protection of human rights for the people of Papua", said Arya.

In addition, Kontras urged Jokowi to evaluate the security approach in Papua as an initial step to building dialogue and resolving the Papua conflict peacefully.

"Finally, guaranteeing the human rights of indigenous Papuans, including the right to life, communal and customary land rights, the right of expression and the right to gather peacefully", he said.

The Wasior tragedy

The Wasior tragedy, which occurred on June 13, 2001, was an assault by the paramilitary Mobile Brigade (Brimob) police corps on civilians in Wondiboi Village, Wasior, Manokwari, Papua.

The incident began after residents complained that the logging company PT VPP had reneged on a agreement with the community. After tolerating the situation for some time the community then expressed its frustration by taking the company's speed boat as collateral .

The company responded to this by bringing in Brimob to put pressure on the community.

The community then complained about the behavior of company and Brimob which elicited a violent response from a West Papua National Liberation Army-Free Papua Movement (TPNPB-OPM) group.

When PT VPP continuing to ignore the community's demands to provide payment when the timber was shipped out, the TPNPB-OPM group attacked and killed five Brimob members and a PT VPP company employee.

OPM also took six weapons belonging to Brimob along with bullets and magazines.

During the police hunt for the OPM and the weapons acts of violence were committed against the Wasior community in the form of torture, murder, forced disappearances and the deprivation of freedom.

Four people were recorded as being killed, one person suffered sexual violence, five people went missing and 39 people were tortured.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kontras Desak Jokowi Jokowi Tuntaskan Kasus Pelanggaran HAM Berat Wasior Papua yang Mandek 23 Tahun".]